Restorative Justice Center launches in Phoenix's Balsz School District

A new program launched in the Balsz School District aims to change the way students are disciplined.

Rather than just reprimanding kids, officials are hoping new measures will transform behaviors.

Typically, people know schools to send kids to detention or suspension, and there is a list of consequences for bad behavior. With this program, however, the first of it's kind in the state, there's a deeper method for discipline.

The concept behind the First Restorative Justice Center is discipline that restores. The school district's superintendent, along with Deputy City Prosecutor Will Gonzalez and conflict resolution leader Breanna Weeks believe the new initiative will be a turning point for students, as well as a different approach to discipline.

Under the program, a student can explain what happened and how he or she felt, while giving the teacher the same opportunity to do so. With a program like this, it allows a child to have more a of a voice, shows the child that they matter, and could transform behavior.

Those leading the program hope this approach restores faith not only in students. but teachers and parents as well. While Balsz is the first district in Arizona to implement this program, other states have seen success not only in schools, but within juvenile offenders.

The approach has reportedly shown a decrease in re-offenders, and some districts have seen grades go up among troubled students. Right now, the program has only launched at Griffith Elementary School, but administrators say they plan to expand.